Kiteboarding Scenarios #7 ** – Got A Kite Off EBAY, READY TO GO! or Self-Teaching … To Death
(Originally posted on November 2007)
EBAY and online sales have brought good and some bad. Inexpensive kites free of warnings or compulsion for proper pro training to all takers falls into the bad category.
- Imagine, a young guy playing around with a full sized traction kite in high gusty winds directly upwind from some buildings in a narrow coastal valley with lots of gusts and lulls. Experienced kiters wouldn’t set up there but this fellow was just flying a kite, so no harm, right? A gust came up dragged him towards and into the buildings at speed. It was a very dangerous experience in a very adverse location guised by the apparent ease of kiteboarding that he failed to survive.
- Or, how about a guy who tried pro instruction very briefly but blew it off and decided to teach himself how to kite. Launch conditions were very challenging with lots of rock, dead onshore winds and congested conditions right down to the waterline. Because of these adverse conditions the guy gets dragged inland three times into all sorts of stuff, once coming close to hitting a wall and suffering injury and treatment in the process. Never touched his quick release but went along for the ride because … of lack of awareness? He just flies his full sized kite on land, directly upwind of all sorts of obstacles and bystanders with no intention of trying to get out into the water in the near term. He never took the risks seriously despite getting put in the hospital once. The last time was just that, the last time.
- Or how about another athletic young woman, physically adept, self-taught and out on here EBAY special kit. Despite all this physical prowess she wasn’t tuned into quick releases or what good they might do if you use them. No one bothered to explain them or perhaps she just go up and riding too fast to pay attention or care. Kiting is easy, right? Just add some strong gusty onshore winds and things go south pronto. That is exactly what they did and she was very luck to survive the experience.
- What have you seen at your local launch? I saw a few dussies this weekend. Tried talking with them related some of these “scenarios” but didn’t really hit much recognition or acceptance. “Not me” or normal denial is incredibly powerful more so than common sense at times.
None of these folks bothered with adequate quality pro lessons. We make the sport look so easy after all. It is just a big toy kite and water is soft, what’s the harm or difficulty? People often just don’t get it, at all.
Also, just how effective is the emphasis to take adequate lessons out there in the industry and media? Is this simple fact promoted as much as it should be? Is there an overwhelming awareness out there like in the case of SCUBA diving or hang gliding? I would say no there isn’t. Do people demand through stupidity and indifference to lose the option for independent choice or is the only way to deal with this through mandatory certification? I sure hope no because I don’t see much near term hope for mandatory anything for this sport. Who is going to mandate this over large geographic areas?
How about the guys that put this stuff up for sale on EBAY, do they do their bit to try to promote proper pro training or do they just go for the quick sale and damn the consequences? Some people won’t be receptive but we owe it to preserving our access and the odd newbie’s and bystander’s health to trying to communicate the need for proper training.
Launches are becoming more crowded and more guys without much of an idea area becoming more common. What is the solution? I am not sure, what do you think?
** Kiteboarding Scenarios were first posted online in 2002. They consist of plausible kiting incidents and accidents that haven’t occurred but may or may not have been inspired by real events. They are stories of likely events conveniently packaged with useful object lessons worth considering. The last one was posted in 2004, looks like it is time for another.